Pyramids are no stranger to mystery and mystique. They have long generated all manner of conversations and discussions on what they are, how they were made, and whether there are more baffling mysteries to be found. Yet, this has largely been seen as a mystery bound to Earth. There are some place one might not be expected to find pyramids, such as our moon, for instance, but then why is it that people keep finding pyramids on the lunar surface?
One very interesting case comes from the Apollo moon missions, which are already surrounded by their fair share of strangeness. The Apollo program itself was a manned spaceflight program started by NASA in 1961 that put the first Americans in space in 1968, and would later focus on putting the first human on the moon. Between 1968 and 1972 these missions would send the first crewed space flights beyond Earth’s orbit in 1968, see the first man on the moon with Apollo 11 in 1969, and gather 842 pounds (382 kg) of lunar rocks and soil that would shed an immense amount of light on our knowledge of the moon. There would also be UFOs and other weirdness, apparently, and our case here concerns the Apollo 17 mission, which was the last of the missions in the Apollo program and the last time humans have travelled into space beyond low Earth orbit. Launched in December of 1972, the Apollo 17 mission was composed of Commander Eugene Cernan, Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt, Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, and five mice brought along as a sort of biological experiment. During the course of the mission the crew would conduct three moonwalks, collect various samples, and it was the longest moon landing ever. They also supposedly photographed a pyramid on the surface of the moon. Wait, what?
During their time on the moon, the Apollo 17 crew carried out their mission on the surface with the aid of a rover near a place called Geophone Rock. They took numerous photos of the moon’s surface during their dangerous mission, and one of them shows what appears to be an artificial structure looming in the distance. This particular photo was written off as an overexposed “blank” at the time, as it seemed to show nothing but a solid background. Yet some curious photography enthusiasts cleared up the contrast and found that in reality the photo seems to show what looks like a pyramid structure. This was immediately jumped on by some in the UFO community as proof of aliens on the moon, but the photograph has been subject to much scrutiny, and accused of being simply an overexposed accidental shot of the rover itself. Whatever it is at least looks weird nevertheless, and it would not be the last time a pyramid would be purportedly found on the lunar surface.
The next case comes from when the moon was a focus of a study done through the famed Hubble telescope, which was launched into low Earth orbit in 1991. The orbital telescope has remained in nearly constant use ever since, able to capture extremely high resolution images due to being out beyond the distortion caused by the atmosphere, and it has been invaluable to uncovering the mysteries of our universe, taking some of the most breathtaking photos of our cosmos ever seen. In 1999, the Hubble telescope was used to take an array of pictures of the moon’s surface which are to date among the most well-defined and startlingly clear photographs ever taken of the moon, and many of these images were released to the public to great fanfare. Yet, in 2008 another supposed photo from the Hubble photographs that seems to have been curiously absent from the original batch was officially released. It is unclear on when exactly the image was taken or if it is even really authentic, but it seems to show a very clear shape of a well-defined pyramid casting a shadow over the surface. This image has been picked apart by conspiracy theorists and UFOlogists on the Internet ever since, and since NASA will neither confirm or deny the photograph it is still hotly debated. Is this a hoax, a trick of shadow and light, or something else?
More recently still is a series of images that came to light in 2019, when a UFO researcher Scott C. Waring uploaded them after discovering them in a batch of NASA moon photos. The photo in question is labelled as NASA photo PIA13510, and appears to show a large crater on the moon called Evdoks, in the center of which sits what appears to be a triangular structure that look very much like a 3-sided pyramid hidden in its shadows. Waring tinkered with the resolution and lighting to bring out the clarity, and the result took the Internet by storm. Although skeptics and astronomers think that the image is just a trick of light on an unusually shaped rock, Waring has gone all out in his endorsement of it as a real pyramid, saying:
It is convincing evidence of the existence of intelligent life on our moon. So the question remains, is this definitive proof that the pyramids in Egypt were built by aliens from our moon? It seems so.
Of course, the fringe ideas on these images say that this is evidence that aliens have built structures on our moon, and that these pyramids are perhaps connected to the ones we can find on Earth. However, not everyone is so convinced, and skeptics basically point to the same mundane phenomena blamed for creating the whole craze about the “Face on Mars.” Here we would have plays of light and shadow that perhaps combine with features of the landscape to create an image that seems more anomalous and mysterious than it really is. This is then magnified by a phenomenon called “pareidolia,” which is basically an incorrect perception of a stimulus, the brain trying to find familiar patterns or features in otherwise random images, such as in the rocks and craters of the moon or Mars. The effect is the same as what makes us see faces and animals in the clouds floating past us overhead, and is the brain’s attempt to find a familiar pattern where none exists. Believers will point out, however, that these images are very unambiguous in what they show, and that is obvious pyramids. On the moon.
As long as people keep poring through NASA photographs we are likely to keep getting claims like these, and extrapolations on what it means for history and how it pertains to extraterrestrial life. It doesn't help that NASA typically doesn't comment on such claims, fueling the fires of conspiracy debates. What are we seeing in images such as these? Are these natural phenomena, illusions, mind tricks, hoaxes, or something altogether more mysterious? Is NASA really trying to brush these under the carpet, or are they merely ignoring it all because it is not worth their time? It doesn't seem to matter what the answers are to those who look for these enigmatic structures, and we can probably expect to see more images brought forward in the future.